An aerial drop of 1080 for a ‘possum control operation’ is scheduled for the Alice Burn East area in Luggate starting next month.
OSPRI's TBfree programme will cover 1394ha of the area, which was originally scheduled for an aerial drop of 1080 last winter; however, the operation was suspended. More than 4000 people signed a petition against that proposed drop, which was presented to Mayor Jim Boult, Otago Regional Council Councillor Ella Lawton and Sam Anderson-Mangai of the Southern District Health Board.
On behalf of OSPRI, a contractor will begin the operation with a pre-feed of non-toxic, tan-coloured cereal pellets by helicopter to give the possums a 'taste for the pellets and to overcome bait shyness.'
One to two weeks later, toxic, green, cereal pellets that each contain 0.15 percent biodegradable sodium fluoroacetate (also known as 1080) will be applied by helicopter at a rate of one bait to every 60 square metres.
OSPRI maintains that advanced GPS navigational equipment will be used to 'ensure the pellets are accurately placed and exclusion zones avoided.'
OSPRI indicates that affected landowners and occupiers will be contacted and visited by one of their contractors to discuss boundary issues, water supply safety and the management of any risks to dogs and livestock. Consents from the Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Health are required for this operation. Warning signs will be placed at all likely access points to the operational area, according to OSPRI's website.
OSPRI did not return our request for further comment or clarification on next month's 1080 drop.